Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade
Gov. Jared Polis, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) announced the expansion of HUBZone, a program to support small businesses that hire low-income residents in Archuleta, El Paso, Mesa, Montrose, San Miguel and Weld counties with opportunities to compete in the federal marketplace.
According to Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation Executive Director Emily Lashbrooke, “This expansion means any local industry has an opportunity to bid on a federal contract with an increased success rate, bringing in more federal dollars to our economy.”
The HUBZone, or “historically underutilized business” zones, fuels small business growth with a goal of awarding at least 3 percent of federal contract dollars to HUBZone-certified companies each year.
The newly designated areas are now viewable on the SBA’s HUBZone map as “Governor-Designated Covered Areas.” To be eligible for this program, communities must have a population of 50,000 or fewer, an average unemployment rate of at least 120 percent of the average unemployment rate for the U.S. or state (whichever is lowest) and be located outside of an urbanized area.
“My administration is focused on bringing good-paying jobs for Coloradans, supporting rural small businesses, and ensuring every Coloradan can thrive. We welcome the latest HUBZones designation, which builds on our ongoing work supporting rural economic development and providing equitable access to good-paying jobs across Colorado,” said Polis.
The program allows governors to apply each year to expand their zones by 10 percent of the current number of zones. Colorado intends to apply annually to maximize the impact of this program in rural Colorado.
“This expansion of HUBZone areas in Colorado is a big step in bringing rural communities into a national network of small businesses with access to valuable support resources and contracting programs to better leverage the federal marketplace,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “We look forward to partnering with more small businesses in these newly designated regions and we’re happy to see more requests from our governors to expand covered areas in their states to support economic growth.”
“I’m incredibly proud of our Business Funding and Incentives and Rural Prosperity teams for partnering with the Colorado Procurement Technical Assistance Center (CO-PTAC) and persevering to get this expansion across the finish line,” said OEDIT Executive Director Patrick Meyers. “This program will open countless doors for businesses and workers in our state’s rural communities.”
The CO-PTAC supports small businesses around Colorado in obtaining federal, state and local government contracts and was instrumental in supporting this expansion of HubZones in Colorado.
For information about the HUBZone program and to see all active zones in Colorado, visit www.sba.gov/hubzone. For information about the CO-PTAC, visit: www.coloradoptac.org.